MX23RW : Tuesday, October 19 11:48:39| >> :60:1275:1275:
Jul 9, 2020 at 5pm UK at Elland Road
LeedsLeeds United
StokeStoke City
Klich (45' pen.), Costa (47'), Cooper (57'), Hernandez (72'), Bamford (90+3')
White (4'), Dallas (50')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Martins Indi (59'), Cousins (63')

Preview: Leeds United vs. Stoke City – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Championship clash between Leeds United and Stoke City, including team news and predicted lineups.

Leeds United will be aiming to cement their position atop the Championship rankings when they welcome Stoke City to Elland Road for Thursday's showdown.

Stoke managed to distance themselves from the relegation zone with their first victory of the restart last time out, although the Potters are only two points clear of the bottom three as things stand.

Match preview

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa pictured on July 4, 2020© Reuters

Following on from their disappointing draw with the Championship's basement side Luton Town, Leeds managed to return to winning ways as they enjoyed a 3-1 triumph over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

Goals from Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich paved the way for the Whites to record their 23rd league victory of the season, and Marcelo Bielsa's side currently sit one point clear of second-placed West Bromwich Albion with five games remaining.

The Baggies can temporarily leapfrog Leeds into first should they take all three points against playoff hopefuls Derby County the day before, but barring any disasters as the season draws to a close, Leeds can start making preparations for an automatic return to the big time.

The Whites have a relatively pleasant fixture list to contend with as the campaign enters its closing stages, with Bielsa's side still to face relegation-threatened Barnsley and Charlton Athletic as well as top-six chasing Derby and Swansea City.

Stoke are certainly facing an uphill task to spoil the Leeds party on their own turf - the hosts have won four out of their last five at Elland Road and have only shipped one goal in that time.

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured on July 4, 2020© Reuters

The Potters have every reason to be optimistic about their fortunes heading into the midweek clash, however, as Stoke finally managed to get three points on the board as they swept aside 23rd-placed Barnsley at the weekend.

Michael O'Neill's men had shared the spoils with Reading and suffered defeats against Middlesbrough and Middlesbrough upon the league's resumption, but Stoke have now given themselves some much-needed breathing space as they rose to 18th in the table on Saturday.

Of course, the Potters could find themselves back down in the bottom three by Thursday depending on results earlier in the week, but that eventuality seems unlikely given that the four teams capable of overtaking Stoke are all facing away matches in this round of fixtures.

O'Neill's men still have to take on playoff hopefuls Nottingham Forest and Brentford in their final couple of games, but the Potters can feel confident about their meetings with two out-of-form sides in Bristol City and Birmingham City in the next week.

However, Stoke's away form is a major cause for concern for O'Neill as the Potters have only picked up two wins in their last 13 on the road, although their most recent away victory was against Leeds' title rivals West Brom in January.

Goals from Bamford, Stuart Dallas and Ezgjan Alioski set Leeds on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory at the bet365 Stadium when the two sides faced off in the reverse fixture.

Leeds United Championship form: WWLWDW

Stoke City Championship form: DWDLLW

Team News

Stoke City players celebrate Tyrese Campbell's goal against Barnsley on July 4, 2020© Reuters

Leeds have no fresh injury concerns heading into the clash with Stoke.

Helder Costa and Dallas – the latter of whom had not missed a single league game this season prior to last weekend - both sat out the win over Blackburn but Bielsa has confirmed that the duo should be able to play a part in midweek.

The return of Costa and Dallas would see Alioski and Barry Douglas drop down to the bench, while Adam Forshaw and Kiko Casilla remain out through injury and suspension respectively.

O'Neill is also expected to keep changes to a minimum following his side's impressive victory against Barnsley.

Tom Ince may have done enough to earn a recall after bagging Stoke's fourth off the bench on Saturday, and Joe Allen is the only confirmed absentee for the Potters.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Ayling, Cooper, White, Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Klich, Roberts, Harrison; Bamford

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Butland; Smith, Chester, Batth, Martins Indi; Cousins, Clucas; Campbell, Powell, Ince; Vokes

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We say: Leeds United 2-0 Stoke City

Stoke were full value for their stellar victory over Barnsley last time out, but an away match against a title-chasing Leeds side is a completely different kettle of fish. The hosts have shown that they are not immune to the occasional slip-up, but we are expecting Bielsa's side to continue their promotion charge with a comfortable victory over the Potters on Thursday evening.

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Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa pictured on July 4, 2020
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